Chris Jericho was the first AEW World Champion and has been one of the best things about the promotion in its one-year of existence. However, if things panned out differently, he might not have even been involved.
Jericho himself has revealed on his Saturday Night Special YouTube live stream that before his program with Kevin Owens in 2016, he planned on stepping away from the ring.
On the live stream, Jericho opened up about his plans to retire several years ago while working for WWE, and why he changed his mind and is still working several years later:
“I was planning on retiring years earlier but I just started having fun again. It all started when I just did the house shows [with WWE] in 2015. That’s when I thought, ‘Oh, I’ll probably just wind down and do house shows for a while.’ Then I realized, yeah, these are fun [without] the pressure, not being on TV was amazing.
“And then I went back for one more little stint. I went back and it was actually supposed to be for a 3-month stint… In that 3-month span, I think I was only going to work until WrestleMania or whatever it was. I think Vince said, ‘Just come back and do a run, we’ll figure it out.’ I think t was to do something with Ambrose, that’s what it was.
“And I came back and I started having so much fun, and then I met Kevin Owens. We had a great chemistry, we clicked right away, and I was like, ‘This guy gets it. He’s a lot like me, like, he doesn’t take things seriously but he takes his work seriously. He’s not afraid to look himself look stupid if it’s willing to get a reaction. That’s when the whole Jericho/Owens best friends thing happened, and that’s when I was like, ‘This is awesome’.”
Jericho then spoke about what he wants to do when he does eventually decide to step away from the ring, highlighting commentary as a potential avenue for him to explore:
“I don’t know when I’m going to retire. But when I do, I would love to continue being involved in commentary and being a consultant. I don’t want to be an Executive Vice President, I don’t want to be a writer. I’d love to be a consultant. And obviously, [touring with] Fozzy, man. That’s the best thing about being with Fozzy, we can do this until we’re 77-years-old like The Stones. Also, I would continue doing stuff like Saturday Night Special, and Talk Is Jericho, and there’s a lot of cool acting things coming up too. So, I will be entertaining you until the day I leave this mortal coil.”
You can check out Jericho’s full stream by clicking the video below.
Thanks to Ringside News for the transcription.